UNICEF Calls for Holistic, Swift Response to Climate Change to Save More Children in Nigeria

UNICEF Calls for Holistic, Swift Response to Climate Change to Save More Children in Nigeria

…Over 110m children at risk of climate change disaster

Rebecca Ejifoma

As part of activities to mark the 2023 World Children’s Day, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday urged the nation’s response to climate change to be swift and holistic.

This call follows its findings that over 110 million Nigerian children are at risk of climate change having confronted the harsh realities of rising temperatures, flooding, drought, and severe storms.

Therefore, UNICEF organised awareness programmes in Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Enugu, Sokoto, and Maiduguri where children moderated discussion sessions on the significant impact of climate change on their lives and futures.

Speaking at the Lagos event themed: “For Every Child, Every Right”, the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate, noted that Nigerian children are confronted with flooding, drought and severe storms.

She lamented that about 650,000 children have been displaced in the country from 2016 to 2021 due to floods.

“This celebration is a crucial platform for our children, the most affected by climate change, to voice their concerns and experiences.

“Their input is essential in shaping our collective path towards a sustainable and resilient future,” says Munduate.

Sadly, Nigeria, as the second most vulnerable country worldwide in terms of children’s exposure to climate change, is said to face severe challenges.

The Director General of the National Council on Climate Change, Dr Salisu Dahiru, warned that as one of the countries that suffer the greatest exposure to adverse climate impacts, Nigeria’s response to climate change must be swift and holistic, accounting for the needs of vulnerable people, including children and women, at the decision-making level and in the National Climate Change Action Plan implementation.

Speaking also, the Lagos State Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mobolaji Ogunlende, described children as the architects of “our future”.

He emphasised that it is “Our collective responsibility to create an enabling environment where they feel safe, loved and empowered”.

Ogunlende, therefore, urged society to embrace children’s diversity and protect their rights.

He further expressed his ministry’s support for initiatives that promote the well-being of children through result-driven social workers in areas like child protection services, family social services, school social services, medical social services and many more.

The commissioner also used the opportunity to call for aid for children in Gaza following the continuous Israel/Hamas war.

The celebration also highlighted the synergy between the government, development partners, civil society organisations, and the private sector, focusing on advocacy, partnerships, and climate education.

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